Vibrant illustrations and a relatable message.

FIRST BROOM

A little witch learns how to fly a broom after some initial wobbles and woes.

Under a full moon, the excited witch heads out for her first flight. This maiden voyage isn’t easy, and she has to break out her wand to stop the runaway broom. Eventually, the little witch and the little broom work together, and she carefully tries to fly again. George’s simple, rhyming text bounces along. The brown-skinned, pink-haired witch is utterly adorable. Her ensemble alone imbues her with personality, from her forest-green outfit to her flower-laden oversize hat to her magenta boots. The young witch’s expressions are used to great effect. A particularly compelling layout shows bright blue tears brimming in her eyes as she watches other flying witches silhouetted against the moon. The palette largely includes deep shades of purple with gold and blue-green complements. There are no specific references to Halloween, but pumpkins appear in the backgrounds on some pages. The storyline is very much in the spirit of a child learning to ride a bike for the first time; there are struggles and frustrations at first, but ultimately the young witch is exuberant as she successfully takes off. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Vibrant illustrations and a relatable message. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 28, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80392-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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